If you want to get into medical school, you may wonder what you can do to increase your chances of being accepted.
While grades, service work, and letters of recommendation are important, clinical experience is one of the best things you can do to improve your med school application.
Medical assisting is a great experience for potential medical students. Medical assistants get to work with physicians each day, watching what they do and how they interact with patients.
This guide goes over what a medical assistant does, how working as a medical assistant can help you get into med school, and how to become a medical assistant.
Can Working as a Medical Assistant Help You Get Into Med School?
Most medical schools require their students to have clinical experience before being accepted into their programs. While all schools have slightly different requirements, it is not unusual for successful medical school applicants to have over 100 hours of clinical experience at the time of application.
Though many types of healthcare exposure can count toward clinical hours, some types of experience are viewed more favorably than others. For example, many schools require direct patient care hours, meaning that research or laboratory tech jobs would not be sufficient.
Getting more clinical hours than required is a great way to get into med school with a lower GPA or if you don't have a good MCAT score.
Medical assisting is an excellent choice for medical students because it provides an opportunity to get direct patient care hours while working alongside a physician. Medical assistants have a unique opportunity to watch a physician in action while learning about laboratory values, medical terminology, medications, and much more.
Good medical assistants may even be able to get a strong letter of recommendation from the medical doctor in their office, giving them an edge over other applicants.
If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, we offer a 4-month online training program here at Stepful. We even offer career coaching and a 100% job placement guarantee.
What is a Medical Assistant & What Do They Do?
A medical assistant is someone who helps care for patients in a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital. They are usually responsible for many basic clinical and administrative responsibilities around the facility. Medical doctors usually delegate tasks to their medical assistants to keep the office organized and running smoothly.
Medical assistant responsibilities include:
- Making appointments
- Checking in patients
- Measuring vital signs
- Drawing blood
- Collecting urine samples
- Giving injections
- Assisting with bedside procedures
- Cleaning patient care rooms
- Sterilizing equipment
- Organizing supplies
- Managing billing and payments
- Coordinating with insurance companies
See our full What Is a Medical Assistant Guide to learn more.
How to Get a Job as a Medical Assistant to Get Experience for Medical School
If you want to get a job as a medical assistant, you should consider getting your medical assisting certification.
While most states do not require certification, almost all employers and healthcare facilities prefer to hire certified medical assistants over those who are not certified. Getting your certification shows that you have the knowledge to safely care for patients in a healthcare setting.
Getting your certification does not have to be a long or expensive process. Medical assistant training programs like ours here at Stepful allow students to become certified online in as little as 4 months. We also offer a medical assistant externship experience and have counselors available to help you find a job.
After you complete a certification program, you will have to take a certification test like the CCMA, CMA, or RMA exam.
If you choose not to get your certification, you may be able to complete on-the-job training. While skipping certification may save you time and money in the beginning, you may be sacrificing a higher salary and advancement opportunities.
You can learn more about how to become a medical assistant here.